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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak gets go-ahead to operate 110-mph trains in Michigan


The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has given Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation approval to operate passenger trains at speeds up to 110 mph in western Michigan and northern Indiana.  

During the past several years, the national intercity passenger railroad has been installing an Incremental Train Control System (ITCS) on the track it owns between Kalamazoo, Mich., and Porter, Ind. The system was developed by GE Transportation, with assistance from Amtrak, the Michigan DOT and FRA. Last year, Amtrak extended the ITCS installation to the western and eastern ends of the line between New Buffalo and Porter, and Oshtemo and Kalamazoo. Now, 97 track miles are equipped with the system.

Amtrak plans to launch the faster service on Feb. 15. The 110-mph operations will shave 10 minutes off the current schedules for the Amtrak Wolverine service, which operates between Pontiac and Chicago via Detroit and Ann Arbor, and the Amtrak Blue Water, which operates between Port Huron and Chicago via East Lansing.

The ITCS installation in western Michigan also sets the stage for expanding 110 mph service from Kalamazoo to Dearborn, along the track segment the Michigan DOT is purchasing from Norfolk Southern Railway, according to an Amtrak press release.

In the coming years, Amtrak plans to extend 110-mph service from Kalamazoo to the state’s central and eastern regions, the railroad said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/8/2012